There’s nothing more important than your health - so why do we push it to the back of our minds so much?
The reality is that checks for stuff that could be seriously affecting you are easy to do once you know where to look.
The problem is, you’ll often just write something off as stress, or tiredness, or a number of other every day factors. Or listen to advice on social media, in the pub or from colleagues - plenty of places that don’t have any formal medial training, basically.
Research conducted by the charity Crohn's & Colitis UK in 2022 suggests 1 in every 123 people in the UK has either Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.
That’s over half a million people suffering in silence. But the signs are often ignored.
Crohn's disease causes inflammation and irritation in your digestive tract - from your mouth to your bum and everything in between. Colitis affects your colon - where your food gets turned into poo.
The problem is, pain in this area gets written off as stomach ache, stress, too much spicy food… all sorts. Or you get too embarrassed to check things like your poo, which will actually tell you a lot about any infections in your body, especially what’s going on in your guts and bowels.
If you don’t spot and treat Crohn's & and Colitis, it can cause you serious pain, malnutrition, weight loss and sickness. And lots more besides.
Lots of people with the conditions have no idea what’s happening to them. Their symptoms are terrifying, and turn their whole lives upside down, but they just don’t realise what’s going on.
It’s time to cut the crap.
The experts at Crohn's & Colitis UK have come up with an easy online symptom checker that you can do at home, in around 30 seconds.
If you’ve got diarrhoea, stomach pain or spot blood in your poo, then don’t hang about – fill it out!
The symptom checker will give you advice on whether you need to contact your GP and will even generate a letter for you to take to your doctor if it seems like you’re going to need an appointment.
Everyone goes to the toilet and poo chat is fine when you’re under 10, so why do we get so embarrassed to talk about it all when we grow up? I know, odd, isn’t it?
Dr Marion Sloan, who’s a GP and Chair of the Primary Care Society of Gastroenterology told us: “We used to worry about talking about sex but today, it's fine.
“Now it’s critical that we normalise conversations about the new taboos such as poo in order to help people talk about their symptoms without feeling embarrassed and come forward as soon as they notice something worrying.”
“Crohn’s & Colitis UK has worked with GPs and clinicians to produce a symptom checker for patients to present to us at appointments. I for one, would welcome a concise set of ticks to eyeball – not least because it circumvents a patient’s reluctance to go into symptoms that they may find too embarrassing to discuss.”
“But when we’re all working under such pressure, anything that helps keep us to time, and the patient on the fast track to the right treatment has got to be a good thing.”
So stop the excuses, look after yourself and take the quick test. Your friends and family will thank you for it. And so will your GP.
You can find the symptom checker here.Featured Image Credit: Rowan Jordan / Getty Images